Harriet Tubman

HARRIET TUBMAN

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Introduction

Harriet Tubman was an incredible part of American History. She led a challenging life, but was still strong enough to rescue around 300 slaves from captivity. Her strength and courage remain an inspiration, even to this day. Students will learn about her childhood, and her work with the underground railroad and the Union Army. Students will connect her life and experiences to the events that were occurring in American history at that time.

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Text Sources

Who was Harriet Tubman? by Yona Zeldis McDonough

This book is recommended for students ages nine through twelve, though it would be appropriate to read aloud to younger students as well. Who was Harriet Tubman is a wonderful story that gives students the history of this incredible woman. McDonough details Tubman’s life as a slave, then a worker of the Underground Railroad, and later as a nurse. The book gives a history of the time period in which Tubman lived, letting students understand the context of her story. McDonough has also written “Who was…” books about Helen Keller, Martin Luther King, Anne Frank, and many other historical figures. This book, and author, are highly recommended for classroom learning.

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Harriet Tubman by Kem Knapp Sawyer

This book gives students a first look at reading historical biographies. This book, also recommended for students ages nine through twelve, is very factual, though it includes interesting illustrations, photographs, and notes.  It includes a history of her life in slavery, but also of her incredible contributions to society after the war ended. This book is strongly recommended for students doing an assignment for their class.

 

Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling

 Freedom train will be loved by students of all ages, whether as a read-aloud or a solo read. Written as historical fiction story, students will become engrossed in the fascinating life led by Harriet Tubman. The story details her life as a life and discussed the conditions that she lives in her entire childhood and early adult years. While it does not focus a lot on the history of the country during this time period, it gives students a very real idea of what it would have been like to be working in the Underground Railroad. This real life story includes enough suspense to capture even reluctant readers.

 A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David A. Adlertubmangroupbybarnweb.jpg

This picture book is better suited for students of lower reading levels. Its beautiful illustrations in addition to short sentences detailing the important aspects of Tubman’s life give students are brief overview of the subject. Though it won’t give readers an incredibly detailed account of her life, it is perfect for students who are just beginning on the subject of slavery, and the civil war. Without overwhelming beginning readers with too many words and facts, it outlines this important historical figure’s life. Adler’s book is a great jumping off point for students.

Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder (Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney)

One of my favorite books as a child, Minty is a beautiful historical fiction book about the early life of Harriet Tubman. Coupled with gorgeous watercolor paintings by Pinkney, the story gives real feeling to young Harriet’s difficult life. Young readers will be entranced by her story, as she moves from working in the house to out in the fields, and they will be fascinated by Harriet’s father’s guidance on living in the wilderness. As Harriet plans her eventual escape from slavery, students will find themselves learning about the life the slaves led nearly 200 years ago.

 Web Sources

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 America’s Story from America’s Library

A kid friendly website with information and graphics about many historical figures, including Harriet Tubman. Students can read the intro with basic facts, or they can explore deeper, depending on how far the teacher wants them to research. This site is easy to use and to navigate. Its bright colors and pictures will keep students entertained and focused as they research. None of the stories are particularly long, and they use appropriate vocabulary for elementary students. This website is funded by the Library of Congress.

 Harriet Tubman Biography

 This site is recommended to fourth through sixth grade students. A sidebar offers links to a biography, time-line, photos, and other resources concerning Harriet Tubman and the history of America during her life. This site gives a very factual and detailed account of her life. One fascinating aspect is the list of some of the people who Harriet helped escape from slavery. The site gives names of the rescued slaves as well as the dates of their escapes. Students have the option of looking at a brief outline, focusing on her family life, or learning about “Tubman’s civil war.” This is perfect for a research project; it is easy to read and to navigate.

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The Underground Railroad

This interactive site gives students a chance to really be connected with the plight of escaping slaves. Set up similar to a “choose your own adventure book” students are able to choose where they want to go as the escape with Harriet Tubman. Small paragraphs, accompanied by photographs and illustrations, describe each scenario to the students. At one point, they must choose to approach a house, or to hide in the woods. Later, they must choose to cross an icy river or stay back and risked being exposed to slave hunters. As they “travel,” the site describes the cities and historical figures that they meet.

Harriet Tubman Biography: TFK Challenge

This site gives a short quiz about Harriet Tubman. In eight questions, the quiz covers the basics of Harriet’s life. This quiz could be used either before teaching the unit to see where students are, or after the unit as a quiz or a study device. Students have the opportunity to retake the quiz of they don’t get all the answers; they are shown which questions were answered incorrectly, but not given the correct answer so they can go back and try again.harriet-tubman-sarah-bradford_a.jpg

Pathways to Freedom

This is another interactive site perfect for students learning about Harriet Tubman and the underground railroad. This site takes students through the life of Harriet Tubman before she escapes from slavery. By scrolling over certain objects in the pictures, students learn more about her family life, and gather clues that will help when they try to escape.

Teacher Resources

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Minty: A Story of Young Harriet Tubman

This website can be used after students read the story Minty. This site has about 6 activities recommended to use during and after the story is read. It suggests activities such as songs, map games, and interviews. Students will love these follow up activities because the story is so fascinating.

Lesson Plan: Harriet Tubman

This link will bring you to a full lesson plan created by Bruce Helgeson for fourth and fifth grade students.  It details a mini unit for teachers, including a background, objectives, references, and assessments. Teachers might not need to use all of the activities, or they may enjoy exploring all the different ideas for their students.

Harriet Tubman: printout/quiz

 This link brings teachers to a print out and questions for students. The printout gives students a short history of Harriet Tubman, explaining why she is an important historical figure. It is followed by comprehension questions, which teachers could give as a quiz or included with the printout. This is a perfect activity for students to practice their reading and comprehension skills. It could be used as a partner project as well.

 On the Road to Freedom: Lesson Plan

 This lesson plan gives suggestions of many books to read to the class for this unit. It also suggests many discussion questions and further exploration activities for students. After reading these books (or any other preferred books) students will use critical thinking to to explore ideas such as; what was the most important event in Harriet’s life? How did she feel when she heard that slavery was abolished?